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Virtual placements prep students for work during Covid-19


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Students and graduates from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are gaining valuable work experience during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to virtual placements.

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The university’s careers support programme – DMU Works – has been instrumental in providing opportunities for both current students and alumni to work in a professional capacity and boost their CVs from the safety of their own homes.

Arjun Patel, who graduated with a degree in Computer Science this summer, had the chance to work on a three-week project with Yoga Loughborough. Together with current students on Graphic Design (Illustration) and Psychology courses, he supported the business through a rebrand.

The 22-year-old from Walsall in the West Midlands said: “I was quite nervous before starting as I wasn’t sure how we could all work efficiently remotely.

“It actually ended up going surprisingly smoothly. Even though I usually prefer meeting in person, having regular video calls with the team to discuss our ideas and progress worked just as well.

“As a recent graduate, real-world experience is essential as the next step towards starting a career, so I’m really grateful for this opportunity.”

Part of Arjun’s role was to maintain the security of the company’s website during the rebrand, as well as to come up with new ideas to improve the customer experience.

He carried out research into customer needs, implementing more user-friendly payment methods and designing a cleaner interface to enable clients of all ages to easily navigate the website.

“I feel like now I’ll have an advantage when trying to secure a graduate job in this field as I’m more confident and I understand the necessary work ethic,” he said.

“The placement has taught me how important everyone is on a project and how other people rely on you to complete your given tasks by a specific deadline, so it’s made me more responsible.

“I’ve also benefited from seeing how marketing can boost brand image and business.”

Although Arjun still aspires to secure a graduate job as a web developer, he is now aware of a range of opportunities he previously hadn’t considered.

He said: “I’ve learned a lot about the use of search engine optimisation processes to improve web traffic. This has led me to look into how marketing agencies can help boost revenue for start-ups and it could be a future business venture for me.”

Having something productive to focus on after graduation is just one of the reasons Arjun recommends virtual work placements to others.

“Take the opportunity, you won’t regret it,” he said.

“It’s a chance for a change and to understand what you could be doing as a career. It really motivated me and networking with students and graduates from different fields could open doors in the future.”

Posted on Monday 30th November 2020

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